When is the next major patch scheduled to be released?
The next major update will be 1.3.2. We just code-locked on it yesterday, so it's off for testing now. Nothing's ever final until it's released, but we're currently looking at these areas for 1.3.2:
- Decoupling fortresses from the Tier 4 campaign - As mentioned above, this was a significant decision and we're not eliminating the fortresses entirely, we're just not requiring that you capture them to control a pairing.
- New User Experience - Improvements to the initial experience new players have when entering WAR for the first time.
- Hireling system - Still being tested and tweaked, so no final details other than stating that the goal is to allow players of all ranks to play with one another.
- Additional Crowd Control balancing - I considered putting this in the "Top 5" above, actually.
- Career balancing
- Other goodies I can't go into just yet.
In terms of your work on the development team, what would you specifically categorize as the biggest challenges you've faced while working on WAR?
That's something of a "moving target". Obviously, just getting the game designed, built and delivered was a massive undertaking that involved hundreds of people spending multiple years hard at work.
Looking back over the past year, however, I think our greatest challenges are the ones we're facing now. Trying to respond with agility to the issues that come up in a game that is live and "in the wild" is massively challenging.
Changing expectations from our players as the game matures, supporting or refactoring major systems as in-game populations start to settle into the latter tiers of the game, maintaining an attractive and accessible experience for new players - all of these things require significant attention and resources. And that's all in addition to the standard balancing and bug fixes that all MMOs are constantly working on.
What have been your greatest achievements?
- Getting the game out, period. It's shocking just how often large projects like WAR never actually make it to market. There are so many things working against you that it's actually a minor miracle when new MMOs come out at all.
- Really capturing the heart and soul of the Warhammer IP. This was personally very important to me, as a long time Warhammer fan, and it was equally important for the whole studio.
- Meeting thousands of passionate, awesome fans all over the world. It's easy to get beaten down by the attitudes of a vocal minority on forums and such, so any time we're at shows and interacting with the actual players directly it really "recharges" us and makes the long hours and endless challenges feel totally worthwhile.
- Introducing systems (Public Quests, the Tome of Knowledge, Living Guilds) that are so new and innovative that our "Noble Competitors" are now introducing them to their own games. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Can we get a picture of your cubicle?
I'm not sure I trust you.
Pirates or ninjas and why?
Do all of you who are "oldsters" on the development team haze n00bs when they join Mythic?
We used to, but we've been so busy over the past few years that we generally just hand them a bottle of whisky and point them at their keyboard. That being said, going on a long vacation is still an invitation to have something terrible happen to your office (like having all of your desk toys nailed to the ceiling).
Do you actively play WAR? Do you play "openly" or do you have stealth characters?
I do play regularly, but we're not allowed to tell anyone outside of our families and extremely close friends who any of our characters are. I go one step further and don't even let my COWORKERS know who I am in-game (though my wife knows, since we play together).
Please add anything else you'd like!
Thanks to everyone who's playing WAR. We've got a lot of great stuff in the works and I think you'll all enjoy the game even more in the future!
WarCry would like to thank Josh Drescher for his time and great answers. Please comment in our forums and let us know what you think! We'll be featuring an article soon looking back at the past year in the WAR universe. WAAAGGGHHH!